As many as 170 lives could be saved each year by a new ten-minute ultrasound scan being rolled out across Scotland.
The one-off procedure for 65-year-old men can detect those at risk of an abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) rupture.
In Scotland, around 5% of men aged between 65 and 75 are believed to be vulnerable to the “hidden killer”.
If the scan is normal, the chance of an aneurysm occurring in the future is extremely low, officials said. However, figures show that when an aneurysm ruptures, up to 80% of patients will die.
The Scottish Government said that by finding and treating abdominal aortic aneurysms early, the programme could save 170 lives every year.
Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon said: “Abdominal aortic aneurysms are a hidden killer which affects one in 20 men in Scotland, most of whom will be unaware that they have the condition.
“Sadly, the first sign of a problem for many men will be when the aneurysm ruptures and, by that time, it’s often too late. If left unscreened, more than eight in ten ruptures can prove fatal.
“But a simple 10-minute scan can detect the aneurysm, enabling treatment to begin and saving hundreds of lives each year. Dealing with potential illness as soon as possible not only means that lives are saved, it also means an efficient NHS.”
The procedure involves a simple ten-minute scan of the abdomen and it will take place at local screening centres.
Patients will get their results immediately and either be discharged, given surveillance or referred for treatment.
Men entering, or who are in, their 65th year will receive an invite to attend a screening appointment in their local area.
Men over this age who would like to be seen can refer themselves to their local AAA screening office.